Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center organized a book launch of "Dauntless: The 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments, United States Army," authored by Marie Silva Vallejo. Held on 18 April 2024, at the Seminar Room, GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center, the event included a public lecture shedding light on the critical role played by these Filipino regiments in World War II.
Vallejo's book delves into the narratives of the first and second Filipino Infantry Regiments as they executed classified submarine missions across various Philippine islands during World War II, such as Negros Island, Panay Island, Mindoro Island, Samar, Palawan, and Leyte. The book includes personal accounts of soldiers who trained to be part of said missions, including those of Vallejo's father, a member of the clandestine military units known only to General Douglas MacArthur and his inner circle. During her lecture, Vallejo shared insights into the pivotal role of these regiments in the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese occupation. She shared that dividing the chapters per island was the best way to tell a story given the volume and depth of her archival research.
In his commentary, Dr. Ricardo T. Jose of the UP Department of History commended Vallejo for her efforts in finding materials on the first and second regiments as they are unique battalions and for bringing attention to the unsung heroes of Filipino military history. He called the book “encyclopedic” and “definitive” for her detailed and unique perspective on the topic, as her own father went to Australia to train with MacArthur and even led guerilla units in Davao City.
The lecture was followed by an open forum segment where participants were allowed to engage in discussions on various aspects of Filipino-American relations during WWII. Topics ranged from the challenges faced by Filipino soldiers fighting racism in the United States to the rationale of Filipino-Americans having to fight their own battles and finding a semblance of victory in achieving recognition from the United States. Gracing the activity, Mr. Evan Garcia, former Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations Office at Geneva, asked about the strategic considerations behind the delayed provision of weapons to Filipino soldiers. Dr. Jose explained that the US government was initially hesitant about it due to the possibility of armed Filipinos turning against them. Thus, upon changing its mind, the US’ active plan was to refrain from supplying advanced weapons and ammunition to retain some sense of control over the Filipino soldiers and guerrillas.
Vallejo also shared the best places to find primary sources on Filipino-American WWII veterans. She underscored the integral role of institutions such as the Maryland State Archives, US National Archives and Records Administration, Hoover Institution, Filipino American National Historical Society, and the MacArthur Library in providing the archival materials essential for writing her book. She also highlighted how after-action reports were scattered in libraries all over Seattle and how soldiers wrote about their personal experience during the war and passed on some of the information to their own children.
In closing, Associate Professor of the UP Asian Center, Dr. Jocelyn Celero, expounded on the importance of books like Dauntless which features primary sources in studying Philippine and Asian history. She concluded that the book launch and lecture served as a reminder of the courage and resilience displayed by Filipino soldiers during a tumultuous period in history. Dr. Celero challenged young students to work more on historical research and contribute to this underexplored area of study.
This book launch and public lecture are part of the initiatives by the UP Asian Center to engage more students to pursue research in the field of Japan-Philippine studies. This event was a joint effort by Japan studies professors at the Asian Center: Assistant to the Dean for Cultural Affairs Dr. Matthew M. Santamaria, Dr. Jocelyn O. Celero, and Dr. Karl Ian Cheng Chua.


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    The Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The UP Asian Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. It also offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. As an area studies institution, the Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website.